Journal

NEW Deborah Louie Free Motion Machine Quilting Program of Lessons

Have you seen the new amazing teaching program Deborah Louie has put together? I’m so excited by it that I can’t help writing a post about all the details!

It’s called ‘Quilting Between the Lines’ and is a program of domestic machine quilting based on a one inch grid! I think it’s a fabulous way for people to learn about free motion quilting in a structured and really importantly…. bite-sized way!

Deb showing us the sample quilt from 'Quilting Between the Lines'
Deb showing us the sample quilt from ‘Quilting Between the Lines’
Quilting Between the lines Book with Deborah Louie
My copy of the NEW Book!! With a special message to me at the top. Aren’t I lucky!

The series of lessons and the project quilt builds on the DVD Deb developed for Quilter’s Companion Magazine #85 in 2017 and features the use of the Full Line Stencil’s 1 inch grid stencil and pounce powder and pad. Do you know these products? We stock the pounce pads and refill powders in white, blue or pink and a number of different stencils including the 1” grid. Call in to the shop and pick one up if you’d like to give it a go. White powder is good for dark fabrics and the pink works well on light fabrics. Blue is best for medium or patterned designs.

Full Line Stencils and Pounce Pad
Full Line Stencils and Pounce Pad. This what the magic begins with!
A detail of the back of the "Quilting Between the Lines' sample quilt by Deborah Louie.
A detail of the back of the “Quilting Between the Lines’ sample quilt by Deborah Louie.

Back to the quilting! Deb’s ‘Quilting Between the Lines’ project really appealed to me because I’ve never really managed to get into free motion quilting. Mostly because while I can make good progress on training sample sized pieces I always feel like a whole quilt is too big. Its such a clean slate that I never know where to  begin. And this is where the grid comes in.. Each square is only 1 inch in size so after you’ve ditched and pieced your quilt you only have to decide what to quilt inch by inch! I really feel like learning this way could warm me up for more ambitious free motion quilting projects.

Deb is teaching this technique now in her Tuesday once a month and her Saturday once a month classes at Berry Quilt & Co. I’m loving seeing the girls’ progress! Don’t despair though… If you’re not near Berry and can’t get to classes, keep your eye on Deborah Louie’s wonderful online learning platform & website. ‘Quilting Between the Lines’ will become an online class there very soon in sure.

The front of the "Quilting Between the Lines' sample quilt by Deborah Louie. Such clever design to quilt over using a grid!
The front of the “Quilting Between the Lines’ sample quilt by Deborah Louie. Such clever design to quilt over using a grid! I can’t wait to give it a go!
The amazing back of the "quilting Between the Lines' sample quilt by Deborah Louie.
The amazing back of the “quilting Between the Lines’ sample quilt by Deborah Louie. The white thread on the blue back shows all the quilting up so well.

And because I can’t help myself below are some more details of the fabulous quilting designs and patterns!  Don’t forget we run two monthly classes with Deborah Louie where you can learn these amazing techniques and much more! The classes are available for one off visits (subject to availability) if you can’t commit to the full year.  Click through to our class listing   and check the dates. Then click through to Deb’s class details to have look at the other projects on offer with Deborah Louie at Berry Quilt & Co. Or pop in to the shop to chat to us about the classes any day but Tuesdays!

Detail of the amazing Quilting on the 'Quilting Between the Lines' sample quilt by Deborah Louie.
Detail of the amazing Quilting on the ‘Quilting Between the Lines’ sample quilt by Deborah Louie. Are you inspired yet??
Detail of the amazing Quilting on the 'Quilting Between the Lines' sample quilt by Deborah Louie.
Detail of the amazing Quilting on the ‘Quilting Between the Lines’ sample quilt by Deborah Louie.
Detail of the amazing back of the 'Quilting Between the Lines' sample quilt by Deborah Louie. The white thread on the blue back shows all the quilting up so well.
Detail of the amazing back of the ‘Quilting Between the Lines’ sample quilt by Deborah Louie. The white thread on the blue back shows all the quilting up so well. I can’t wait to give it a go!
Detail of the amazing back of the 'Quilting Between the Lines' sample quilt by Deborah Louie. The white thread on the blue back shows all the quilting up so well.
Detail of the amazing back of the ‘Quilting Between the Lines’ sample quilt by Deborah Louie. The white thread on the blue back shows all the quilting up so well.

CHRIS JURD Pickled Fish Blocks

CLASS: Sunday 15th July

Learn to make the Pickled Fish Blocks with Chris

COST: $70 pp 10am – 3.30pm 

Chris Jurd’s quilts are immediately recognizable for their fearless curves, points and colour and Chris is well known as an experienced and organised teacher accredited by QuiltNSW.

In this one day class Chris will introduce you to her Pickled-Fish block. This block is Chris’s contemporary take on the traditional ‘pickle-dish’ block. In class you will learn to construct the block by machine using foundation papers, taking the fear from your curves and points.

You have the choice to make the block on it’s own as a learning exercise or you can go on to make many more and complete a quilt top.

Chris Jurd lives in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney and has been quilting for over 30 years. She started teaching 17 years ago, and has a busy schedule of classes throughout the year at various shops in Sydney and regional NSW. She is on the faculty for New Zealand’s Quilt Symposium in Christchurch in 2017 and is currently Membership Secretary of QuiltNSW, Australia’s largest quilting guild.

Chris’ work encompasses all styles with an emphasis on a strong colour palette and a preference at the moment for foundation piecing. Chris has been a regular contributor to Quilters Companion and has recorded two DVDs for the magazine. As tour leader, she is taking an enthusiastic group of Aussie quilters to Houston again this year. She has been lucky enough to win several prizes over the years for her quilts including a 1st at the 2011 Sydney Quilt Show for her quilt “Lots of Dots”. She is also a great advocate for machine quilting on a domestic machine.

You read more about Chris at www.chrisquilts.blogspot.com

Chris Jurd Quilter
Chris Jurd Quilter
Chris Jurd Pickled Fish Quilt
Chris Jurd Pickled Fish Quilt
Chris Jurd Lots of Dots Quilt
Chris Jurd Lots of Dots Quilt
Chris Jurd Pickled Fish Quilt Block
Chris Jurd Pickled Fish Quilt Blocks
Chris Jurd at Springwood Quilt Show
Chris Jurd at Springwood Quilt Show

View our FULL CLASS CALENDAR HERE: 

Bag Making with ByAnnie founder and Designer Annie Unrein

CLASS: Mon & Tues 25 & 26th June

The Ultimate Travel Bag or the Bon Voyage Tote from ByAnnie 

COST:  $240 pp plus pattern & materials includes Meet & Greet Annie session on Monday 23rd July at 5pm on Monday 25th June

Do you know of ‘By Annie’ designs? If you don’t you will soon. Annie’s bags are seen everywhere and made in every sort of amazing fabric. The distinguishing feature of Annies bags is the use of her ‘Soft’n’Stable’ bag wadding and her very own range of bright ‘bag hardy’ interchangeable zips & mesh. Her range also includes hard to find sturdy hardware such as D rings, rectangle spacer units and spring clip sets in nickel or antique brass. Annie’s bag designs are innovative and diverse and the patterns are very popular and easy to understand. We are incredibly lucky in Berry to have the chance to host Annie Unrein so you can all learn to make her best selling Ultimate Travel Bag!  (And a second smaller project if you are fast!) OR the Bon Voyage Tote (And a second smaller project if you are fast!).

We’ve chosen the projects to give you the choice of a useful, large bag with loads of bag construction learning opportunities or a smaller more manageable project with different construction and zip insertion techniques. We imagine that there will be two groups in class, some working on the large Ultimate Travel Bag and some working on the Bon Voyage tote. Each group will see and hear about the techniques the other is employing during the course of the two days so it’s almost like two classes in one. Also if you are speedy, you may of course begin a second smaller project while we have Annie on hand to guide us!

A creative lifetime quilter, Annie Unrein of Patterns by Annie and ByAnnie.com has been designing patterns and teaching since 2000. Annie is the creator of ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable®, an innovative product she designed to add body, stability and a professional finish to purses, bags, home dec items, and more.

Her quilts and designs have been published in the US publications: Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting, Quilt, Quilter’s Newsletter, and Memory Makers magazines.

With a focus on practical and useful projects, Annie’s patterns appeal to a sewists of all ages and levels and serve as a great base for classes. Annie’s goal is to write patterns that are easy to understand with complete instructions to guide you every step of the way.

A popular Craftsy instructor, BERNINA Ambassador, and official Superior Threads Educator, Annie has a broad range of information to share from using the proper supplies and equipment to easy techniques that give professional results.

Annie Unrein from 'By Annie'
Annie Unrein from ‘By Annie’
Annie Unrein and Tula Pink with By Annie Bags
Annie Unrein and Tula Pink with By Annie Bags
By Annie Ultimate Travel Bag
By Annie Ultimate Travel Bag
By Annie Bags
By Annie Bags
Make the ByAnnie Bon Voyage Tote with Annie
Make the ByAnnie Bon Voyage Tote with Annie Unrein
Make the ByAnnie Ultimate Travel Bag with Annie Unrein
Make the ByAnnie Ultimate Travel Bag with Annie Unrein

Inside View of the Bon Voyage Tote

Inside View of the ByAnnie Bon Voyage Tote

Inside View of the Ultimate Travel Bag

Inside View of the ByAnnie Ultimate Travel Bag

View our FULL CLASS CALENDAR HERE:

RachaelDaisy Whizz Bang Class

CLASS: Sat 19th & Sun 20th May 

Whizz Bang with RachaelDaisy

$240 pp Includes trunk show 4.30pm Sat 19th May

We are lucky to have prize winning quilter RachaelDaisy visiting Berry in May! Come along and discover her bright and energetic style of quilting. In her two day Whizz Bang! Workshop, participants will learn 4 different ways of making the folded point 3D blocks that feature in Rachael’s famous Whizz Bang! , Merry Whizz and other folded fabric quilts.

Along the way Rachael will offer lots of tips and suggestions for varying the blocks for different results. The workshop is suitable for beginners but also wonderful for more experienced sewers who would like to try something different and get a bit of a third dimension happening in their work.

Rachael has had a number of accolades in her quilting career including Best of Show at the Modern Quilt Show of Australia in 2015 for Clamshell Carousel and 2016 for Fair and Square. Rachael won Best of Show at the 2016 QuiltNSW Sydney Quilt Show. Her Bubbles quilt was on the cover of Simply Moderne Magazine in 2014. Rachael has an incredibly bright, bubbly and sharing personality you will have loads of fabric-y fun in her class!

We are also having a trunk show with Rachael right after class. Come along and see the quilts up close and meet gorgeous Rachael in person.

Sat 19th May – 4.30pm to 6.30pm $25 pp TRUNK SHOW:

Join us for a special Berry first! Rachel Daisy will be our special guest at our casual meet the maker & trunk show session. There will be refreshments, pre dinner nibbles and miles of Rachael’s amazing quilts to see touch and hear all about! Tickets are limited so make sure to book in soon.

Rachael Daisy Quilter
Rachael Daisy Quilter with Merry Whizz
Rachel Daisy Quilter with Ric Rac Razzamataz
Rachel Daisy Quilter with Ric Rac Razzamataz
Rachael Daisy Whizz Bang Quilt
Rachael Daisy Whizz Bang Quilt
Rachael Daisy Whizz Bang Quilt Detail
Rachael Daisy Whizz Bang Quilt Detail
Rachael Daisy Merry Whizz Quilt
Rachael Daisy Merry Whizz Quilt
Rachael Daisy Whizz Bang Quilt Detail
Rachael Daisy Whizz Bang Quilt Detail
Rachael Daisy Zap Zing Zowie Quit
Rachael Daisy Zap Zing Zowie Quit
Rachael Daisy Clamshell Carousel Quilt
Rachael Daisy Clamshell Carousel Quilt

VIEW OUR FULL CLASS CALENDAR HERE:

IMPROV is not a Dirty Word!!

CLASS: 10am -3.30pm Sunday 18th March $55pp

Improv is not a Dirty Word: Strippy Improv techniques.

With Sharon Thomson

Improv has become a buzzword in modern & art quilt circles but what does it mean and how do you do it?

In a nutshell: Improv is short for ‘Improvised’ . In quilting it has come to mean a process of piecing blocks or a whole quilt without a pattern,  precise measurements and often without even a ruler!!!

Improv has been the basis of many incredibly beautiful modern quilts. These have often used entirely solid colour fabrics and they employ a sophisticated sense of colour & design. Don’t forget though, that ‘there’s nothing new under the sun…’! Over the centuries improv has also been the basis of many a humble scrappy ‘reuse and make do’ style family heirloom.

In this class with Sharon Thomson we are going to explore a number of ways you can piece strips intuitively without a patterns and build up a beautiful quilt without worrying about measurements, precise cutting or fabric requirements. You might use entirely patterned fabrics, entirely solids or a mix of both but whatever you choose, be prepared to throw fuss out the window. We are thinking FUN FRESH & FAST!

Just come with your tub of scraps and I’ll get you started on your first strippy improv blocks. Learn the power of keeping your strip scraps, however thin!! By the end of the day you’ll have a few blocks made and a plan of attack to get the project finished. If you don’t have a huge stash that’s OK! A jelly roll and/or a few fat quarters will work just as well while you get used to the ideas.

Sharon Nicholls Thomson Greener Pastures Strip Improv Quilt
Sharon Nicholls Thomson Greener Pastures Strip Improv Quilt

Sharon Thomson Strippy Improv Yellow Detail 1
Sharon Thomson Strippy Improv Yellow Detail 1
Sharon Loves Quilts
Sharon Loves Quilts
Sharon Thomson Blue Strippy Improv Table Runner
Sharon Thomson Blue Strippy Improv Table Runner
Sharon Thomson Green Strippy Improv table runner
Sharon Thomson Green Strippy Improv table runner

VIEW OUR WHOLE CLASS CALENDAR HERE:

 

Jo Dixey Class Coming UP

In April 2015, I went to the Australian Quilt Convention in Melbourne with my great sewing friend Lisa Johnson. We had a wonderful time. Have you ever been to AQC? It’s an incredible extravaganza of all things quilting. Lisa and I splashed out on a Gold Pass which gave us entry to all the events, Gala Dinner, Cocktail Party, artist’s talks, four days of classes and the most amazing lunches and refreshments you’ve ever seen at an event! I would definitely have gone this year except that I have my new little shop to look after.

One of the workshops I did was with Jo Dixey, an incredibly talented needlewoman, as I like to call her. Needlewoman seems to fit; as she is Royal School of Needlework trained embroiderer who earns her keep through traditional embroidery commissions, making quilts, textile art and other mixed media pieces. Lucky for us she also teaches embroidery, quilting and various other stich related techniques.

Jo is originally from the UK and is now, lucky for us, living and working in New Zealand. Her connection with the Royal School of Needlework interested me as I had done a weekend workshop there about four years prior. The school is within Hampton Court Palace, an atmospheric venue! It has high light filled rooms overlooking the formal garden of William III. That was a wonderful experience but a bit off topic.

Because I loved Jo’s class at AQC so much, I’ve decided to bring her to Berry for a two day class on the 16th and 17th April this year. The class is titled: (by me attempting to be a bit descriptive) Drafting a Portrait Quilt. Jo calls the workshop making a Head Quilt. Both are accurate really. The class is all about the skills needed to turn a photograph of a head into a piece of textile art.

What I learned, which can be applied to almost any subject matter, is how to enlarge the photo while simplifying it to the necessary elements for your design. How to break your design up into areas of tonal difference and then, how to render this in fabric. The techniques Jo teaches are age-old techniques that do not rely on technology. This is a refreshingly computer free class! The old school materials of pencils, paper, rulers, scissors, needles, thread and fabric are all we need in this class to create a really potent and meaningful work.

I’m still finishing off the needleturn on this portrait of my gorgeous daydreaming daughter Milly who was a year off becoming a teenager in this photo. In years to come, it’s going to be a really poignant reminder of how serene and elegant she is at this age. I’m thrilled with how it turned out. A piece I couldn’t have even imagined making without Jo’s experience in rendering shading across all kinds of textiles and her calm no-nonsense methods of walking us through a simple but unfamiliar process.

I own a quilt shop!

Some of you might be wondering a little bit about who owns Berry Quilt & Co. Well let me fill you in a bit….

My name is Sharon Thomson. Occasionally its Sharon Nicholls-Thomson. (This is when I enter competitions so that my maiden name doesn’t miss out on all the fun.) I’m a quilter and teacher in my 40s with a youngish family; a lovely husband and three daughters under 13. I’ve been sewing and quilting since my early teens when I made myself patchwork shorts and t-shirt from my mother’s scraps and wore them down the street to buy an ice-cream. I wish I had a photo of that!! Well… maybe I don’t actually!

I love all styles of quilting, embroidery, sewing, textile arts and … in fact I don’t think I’ve ever met a craft that I haven’t had a go at! I’m a member of our local Berry Spinners & Weavers but I have to admit that I’m not a regular at meetings now that I have a day job.  I still have a loom set up in the lounge room where I do a few rows every now and again and my spinning wheels get occasional work outs. I love knitting and crochet and I even used to have a knitting blog when my kids where much younger. This blog is still online at The Stripey Tiger where I left it.

My background and initial university qualification was a Bachelor of Art Education, a high school art teaching degree. I then went on to complete a masters degree in Arts Administration. After that, I worked for many years in the contemporary crafts area for Craft Australia,  the now defunct peak representative body for contemporary crafts practitioners, CraftWest in Perth and The Glass Artists Gallery in Glebe, Sydney as well as a super funky boutique antique, collectables and fine art auction house in Sydney called Wemyss.

In all of these roles I worked on various marketing and communication style projects, some of which were all about retailing high end crafts. I also managed and toured Australia-wide exhibitions both for the not profit organisations and for the commercial gallery I worked in. I did quite a bit of teaching in all those roles and there was loads of public programs style communication with audiences.

More recently, since I’ve lived in Berry 2 hours south of Sydney, I’ve worked taught for and worked with Liz at Berry Patchwork. It’s been about 5 years now and I know the business and its clients pretty well. I live close by and have had lots of lovely feedback about the changeover which is encouraging.

I’ve taught everything at Berry Patchwork from hand piecing, EEP and appliqué to how to follow patterns for all styles of quilts. I think my strength as a teacher is encouraging the tentative student by teaching basic skills that give a foundation and confidence to build on and unlock their own creativity.  I particularly enjoy helping people design and make their own quilts on their own terms, for their own purpose, with their own rules. The satisfaction I get from seeing students complete things that they never thought they could is immeasurable!

My own quilting work is very eclectic.  I do everything from appliqué to english paper piecing which I have always loved, to really simple machine piecing. I enjoy making the whole quilt myself from start to finish and whilst I can machine quilt, I much prefer hand quilting my bed quilts. Recently, I’ve been concentrating on developing my own art practice and am making smaller experimental wall pieces with a strong improvisational and design focus. I was very excited that one of these pieces won third place at the recent Quilt NSW Annual Quilt Challenge. You can see  this piece, ‘White Light’  on their website.

Over the fast few years I’ve run a craft workshop mini-business with my friends Paulina Collier and Alison Burgess of the Berry Tea Shop called Craftea. Our Craftea Facebook account shows a little of what we used to get up to. This was great fun and I look forward to running similar nights at Berry Quilt & Co. I have also been running various craft and creative workshops from my own home under the name Marmalade Hill. There is a website for Marmalade Hill  enterprises that you might be interested in looking at too.

I like thinking about art, design, crafts and how they overlap. I was very lucky to be asked by Elizabeth Dubbelde to give a talk at the Berry Quilting Retreat dinner in 2015. I spoke there about quilts that I had begun to see around the place that were presented with their seams facing the audience not the other way around as we are all used to seeing. I talked about the beauty that is often hidden inside quilts and what the makers were meaning when they chose to work in this way. Making this speech was great fun and I relished the opportunity to organise my ideas that way and chat to others about it. Feel free to make contact with me if you have any interesting ideas about quilts that you want to chat about.. I’m always up for a bit of a ‘quilt theory’ chat.

So there you go… I know this post is VERY long and if you have got this far …you might see that when you think about it… all my previous work experience and all my lovely hobby pursuits seem to be nicely joined together in this new opportunity to own and organise my own retail space and creative hub. I’m already enjoying this time getting things ready and look forward to getting into the shop, playing with fabric all day and meeting you all when you come to visit.  xxx Sharon

An Announcement!

Elizabeth Dubbelde - Sharon Thomson
Liz & Sharon wondering if you have heard the latest about The Berry Patchwork Shop sale.
The news that Elizabeth is definitely selling The Berry Patchwork Shop and that I am the buyer went public today, the first morning of the CMRI Gerringong Quilt Show!

There are many congratulations! Many of Elizabeth’s clients know me from teaching classes and working in the shop when Elizabeth is away on holidays. It is lovely that so many people made a point of coming up to me and congratulating me on the news!

And there are lots of questions… Yes.. lots of things will stay the same.. and yes there will be lots of new things too! Yes I do hope Elizabeth will come and teach for me in the future! Yes I will be keeping the children’s classes. Yes all the current teachers will continue!

Everyone loved the photos of us on our announcement notice. Liz’s husband Alan took them one morning. Thank you Alan They are great!!

Wondering some more..

Elizabeth and I began to talk about what it would be like if she sold. We talked about her continuing to run the Berry Quilting Retreat and the One Red Thread textile prize and the other textile prizes that she has built up, such as the “Desert Threads” and the “A World of..Colour/Texture..” series.

This seemed perfect to me. It meant that Elizabeth could continue to build on those amazing vibrant events and keep them in Berry without having to worry about the retail side of things and conversely, I could concentrate on running the retail well. I’m happy to walk before I break into a full on sprint!

Our discussions continued slowly with our ideas for how it might happen evolving weekly. Eventually our husbands joined the conversation and my husband John was totally supportive. He thought it a wonderful idea and strongly encouraged me to GO FOR IT! My three girls though it was a brilliant plan too. They couldn’t wait to come on in and work behind the counter.

Wondering…

Elizabeth has been talking about selling The Berry Patchwork Shop on and off for a couple of years. Even though I’ve taught regular groups in the shop for about 5 years, I’ve got a retail background as well as teaching qualifications… my three daughters were in primary school and even though when Liz first started talking about selling, it seemed a good fit and an incredible opportunity but…. it wasn’t the right time.

So I let the idea go…. for a while….

This year, my eldest went to high school and it went like a dream. In a matter of months, that unknown quantity was demystified, she was having great year and the other two were growing up and becoming more independent too.

I wondered if the fantasy of owning my own patchwork shop could possibly work? Did Elizabeth still want to sell?